In today’s world, we have constant and instant access to an unbelievable amount of information. Information about anything and anyone. But some people’s identity is hard to pin down. Using well-documented sources, we’ve compiled the top 10 most intriguing stories about individuals throughout history whose identity was and remains a mystery.
#10. D.B. Cooper
November 24, 1971, while the United States prepares for Thanksgiving Day, a Boeing 727 from Portland to Seattle is boarded with 36 passengers, including an inconspicuous man listed on the passenger manifest as Dan Cooper… later renamed by overzealous journalists to D.B. Cooper. He seems polite, dignified, calm. Shortly after takeoff, the captain is informed by a stewardess that this man has a bomb in his suitcase, and he’s threatened to use it unless he gets $200,000 in small bills and four parachutes.
Although today it may seem unbelievable, Northwest Orient Airline and the FBI manage to make a deal, and the highjacker is met at a remote landing strip and receives the sum he demanded. After the passengers are released, he gives the flight crew very specific instructions. Keep the plane under 10,000 feet with wings flap at 15 degrees. Once the plane is airborne again, he uses one of the parachutes at the minimum flight speed limit and disappears without a trace.
After landing, the aircraft is thoroughly searched and an investigation spanning several years commences. The only clue the police have at their disposal is an identikit picture of Cooper, his fingerprints, and a tie with a clip. All 10,000 twenty dollar bills, photographed by the FBI before they were handed over to Cooper, were found in three bags in 1980 by the Columbia River. The FBI favors the theory that Cooper did not survive the drop, during which he’d tied the bags to his body. The body itself is nowhere to be found. The 30 years following this legendary hijacking, the FBI list of suspects run into thousands. There are dozens of theories as to who D.B. Cooper really was and very little hard evidence to support any of them. What was his name? Is he still alive? We’ll probably never know. In 2016, the FBI closed the case as unresolved.